Letting go of what no longer serves you – easier said than done right?
Aparigraha, or non-possessiveness, is one of the five yamas (moral discipline) of yoga, and in order to understand this I like to think of it in a more literal sense.
Have you ever been on holiday, packed everything but the kitchen sink, and then spent a week in swimsuit and flip flops wondering why you actually bothered with the rest of the luggage (or should we say baggage) that you brought?
Or have you ever felt so possessed by your phone, constantly checking for messages, social media likes, receiving calls and texts that you feel like you must answer right away or the whole world will end, and then felt truly uplifted and free the day you accidentally left your phone at home? Like a weight was lifted from your shoulders?
When we let go of what no longer serves us we free our minds and our bodies to move forward.
This can happen in yoga – the fixation to reach a goal (eagle pose was one of mine) can possess us and take away the joy of what we love doing. I used to get so frustrated and fixated about not being able to do it that everytime it came round in class, yoga was no longer fun.
Now I am a teacher, guess what? I still can’t do the pose! But you know what is cool about that? I am living proof that it doesn’t matter! We are all on a journey and everyone is at a different stage in theirs and that is ok, so long as we don’t become to possessed with the end goal and that goal doesn’t consume us.
When we come to our yoga mats we bring a lot of baggage, be that the challenges we might think we will face in the next hour, or the stresses from our job, the morning traffic, or the long queue in cafe Nero.
But your mat is the space where you can leave all that baggage at the door, and try and work through some of it by freeing your mind and your body, so that hopefully when you leave class you won’t be taking so much of that baggage back with you.